Canada’s World Junior team is taking shape.
Seven more roster cuts came Friday night, following a 5-1 exhibition loss to U Sports All-Stars in Victoria. Canada has 23 players left in camp, meaning they have one more cut to go before finalizing their 22-man roster.
Goaltender Matthew Villalta was cut, meaning that Vancouver Canucks prospect Michael DiPietro and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ian Scott will share the net. DiPietro has been groomed to be the starter, though Scott, who signed an entry-level contract with the Leafs on Friday, has superior numbers this season.
Three defencemen were sent home, including Nicolas Beaudin, Jacob Bernard-Docker, and Pierre-Olivier Joseph.
That means that Canada’s blueline is set, with seven defencemen making the team:
- Evan Bouchard
- Josh Brook
- Noah Dobson
- Jared McIsaac
- Ian Mitchell
- Markus Phillips
- Ty Smith
Canada got bad news regarding Alex Formenton, one of just two returning players in camp. Formenton will miss the entirety of the tournament after suffering a knee injury during Wednesday’s exhibition game.
Formenton’s knee injury takes him out of the tournament.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) December 15, 2018
Other forwards cut include Liam Foudy and Isaac Ratcliffe.
With 14 forwards left in camp, Canada has one cut left. They’re waiting on the status of a pair of LA Kings prospects, Gabe Vilardi and Jared Anderson-Dolan, who are banged up and didn’t play in any of the exhibition games this week. If they each prove to be healthy enough to play next week, they’ll make the team.
These are the remaining 14 forwards:
- Jaret Anderson-Dolan
- Shane Bowers
- Maxime Comtois
- MacKenzie Entwistle
- Morgan Frost
- Cody Glass
- Barrett Hayton
- Alexis Lafrenière
- Brett Leason
- Jack Studnicka
- Nick Suzuki
- Owen Tippett
- Joe Veleno
- Gabe Vilardi
The forward group includes Alexis Lafrenière, a 17-year-old that isn’t eligible to be drafted until 2020. Max Comtois is the only returning player from last year’s gold medal winning team.
Head coach Tim Hunter will want to finalize his roster as soon as possible, but can delay his final decision until the eve of the tournament, which begins on Boxing Day.
Canada has three pre-tournament games scheduled next week against Switzerland (December 19) and Slovakia (December 21) in Victoria, and Finland (December 23) in Vancouver.
They open the tournament against Denmark at Rogers Arena on December 26.